Climate change and infectious disease surveillance in Nepal: qualitative study exploring social, cultural, political and institutional factors influencing disease surveillance

Dinesh Bhandari, Peng Bi, Jeevan Bahadur Sherchand, Ondine S. von Ehrenstein, Zerina Lokmic-Tomkin, Meghnath Dhimal, Scott Hanson-Easey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background To explore the impacts of contextual issues encompassing social, cultural, political and institutional elements, on the operation of public health surveillance systems in Nepal concerning the monitoring of infectious diseases in the face of a changing climate. Methods Semi-structured interviews (n = 16) were conducted amongst key informants from the Department of Health Services, Health Information Management System, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, World Health Organization, and experts working on infectious disease and climate change in Nepal, and data were analysed using thematic analysis technique. Results Analysis explicates how climate change is constructed as a contingent risk for infectious diseases transmission and public health systems, and treated less seriously than other ‘salient’ public health risks, having implications for how resources are allocated. Further, analysis suggests a weak alliance among different stakeholders, particularly policy makers and evidence generators, resulting in the continuation of traditional practices of infectious diseases surveillance without consideration of the impacts of climate change. Conclusions We argue that along with strengthening systemic issues (epidemiological capacity, data quality and inter-sectoral collaboration), it is necessary to build a stronger political commitment to urgently address the influence of climate change as a present and exponential risk factor in the spread of infectious disease in Nepal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • climate change
  • contextual factors
  • disease surveillance
  • Nepal

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